News ID: 213206
Published: 0124 GMT April 14, 2018

Trump's personal lawyer attacked by US prosecutor over privacy claim

Trump's personal lawyer attacked by US prosecutor over privacy claim
US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen exits a hotel in New York City, US, on April 13, 2018.

A US prosecutor on Friday attacked a claim by President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen that many of the materials seized this week in FBI raids on Cohen’s office and home as part of a criminal investigation should remain private.

Prosecutors also confirmed in a court filing on Friday that they have been investigating Cohen for months, largely over his business dealings rather than his legal work, Reuters reported.

Uncertainty over exactly what FBI agents seized from Cohen comes as Trump faces an intensifying probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether his presidential campaign colluded with Russia. The raids were partly a referral by Mueller’s office.

US District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan ordered Cohen to appear in court on Monday afternoon, after holding three hearings on Friday into his request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking prosecutors from reviewing seized materials.

Assistant US Attorney Tom McKay accused Cohen of trying to invoking “wildly overbroad” claims of attorney-client privilege to avoid the disclosure of thousands of allegedly privileged communications related to the president and other cases.

In Friday’s filing, prosecutors said it would be “unprecedented” to allow Cohen’s lawyers to decide what it is privileged, and that the government should be allowed to use its own “taint team,” or “filter team,” to do the job.

They also downplayed the scope of potential privilege, saying they had before Monday secretly searched multiple email accounts belonging to Cohen, and which they said indicated that Cohen “is in fact performing little to no legal work.”

The raids infuriated Trump, who tweeted “Attorney-client privilege is dead!” on Tuesday.

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